For the past one month, Yanrong has been toting a dainty backpack to school.
It holds a water bottle, a snack box, a small notebook, a pencil case and some casual reading material. They add up to less than 2kg. The last time her bag weighed less was when she was attending preschool.
This has pleased me no end. In my previous column, I had complained about my daughter's heavy school bag, which weighed as much as 20kg because she was adamant about having every piece of study material at hand should a teacher require it.
Since sitting her last Primary School Leaving Examination paper early last month, Yanrong has been in Utopia.
An avid reader, she finally has plenty of time to read all the books that she had put off reading during the year. There were so many that she sometimes cannot keep to her choice of reading, flitting from one book to another or switching between physical books and the e-reader.
She kicks up little fuss when roused the next morning to catch the school bus. These days, going to school is a pleasure. Gone are the drills and the accompanying stress. Classes are fun, with learning done through excursions and little homework. (Does this sound like the Finnish education system?)
Her school has organised trips for its Primary 6 pupils to Snow City, Science Centre, the zoo, parks and the National University of Singapore to study the science projects of undergraduates.
On days when no outings were planned, the pupils were kept busy attending dancing lessons and planning a charity bazaar. The girls made their own bracelets, earrings, files and other knick-knacks and sold them at the bazaar.
"We raised $1,000 from the sale," Yanrong declared proudly.